Taking the stress out of starting preschool by being prepared

Tips from Beaumont Community Playgroup, located in St. Fiachra’s School grounds Beaumont for the past 22 years

 These days, Beaumont Community Playgroup is helping local families to avoid the stress of starting preschool by sharing the following tips to families with young children, starting preschool in September; to calm the nerves for anxious mums and dads and grandparents.

The good news,  according to Bernie Sheridan, manager of Beaumont Community Playgroup who are currently hosting induction days for children and information sessions for parents and grandparents, is that there are lots of things you can do over the summer to get your child – and yourself – ready for preschool.

According to Bernie Sheridan:

“Now is the time to visit the preschool and ask any questions you might have and to get a feel for the place and the people.  We all want to make this a smooth transition from home to playgroup.

“Beaumont Community Playgroup is a home from home, and a much gentler transition than ‘big school’.  It’s also a great way to get your child school ready.

“When you visit or call, we’ll chat to you about the play based curriculum we offer and the opportunities it will provide for your child’s learning and we’ll share our most recent inspection report of course, showing us to be fully compliant.  And that’s very important.

“We also encourage the children to visit in advance too, so that they see the room, the toys, the outdoor area and all the fun things they will get to do come September.  We love to meet the children in advance.

“Over the coming weeks and months, consider how you will manage the practical aspects of your new routine in terms of dropping and collecting the child.  Be organised.  Check details about timetables, lunches, school bags.   We recommend that you buy easy to open lunch boxes and bags and label everything.  We have a healthy eating policy here in Beaumont and that’s very important to the fight against childhood obesity and educating children from an early age about healthy food choices.

“No need for uniform or ‘good clothes’ at playgroup, so parents don’t need to worry about that.  Choose clothes they can play in without having to worry about paint splashes and that are easy to manage for toilet trips.

“Now is the time to encourage your child to do things for themselves at home – managing buttons on clothing, using the bathroom, opening a lunch box.

“Talk to your child about playgroup and starting in September, the friends they will meet, the games they will play.  But resist the temptation of hyping up preschool too much — they might be totally underwhelmed.

“Coming up closer to the start day, talk to your child about how you will drop them in and then ‘go to the bank’; ‘do the shopping and make the dinner’ or some time related activity – not too exciting – after which you will come back and pick them up.  Always on time, because that’s important as children start to fret if they see all the other parents picking up and not theirs.

“Know the route you’ll take in September to preschool, and walk if possible.  Walking is good for the whole family and much less stressful than driving.  You might even meet a neighbour, friend or future class mate while walking around.

“Try to relax and don’t fuss over the summer.  Let your child know you are confident they can manage. Children are  alert to emotional messages you send out so, if they do see you getting worked up about things, they will follow.

“When it comes to the big day, have a plan for yourself.  Treat yourself to a coffee and have the Kleenex ready; maybe meet up with one of the other parents whose child is attending.  Don’t look for problems where there are none.  If we need to contact you we will.  Often it’s the parents who find the transition more difficult than the children, but we’ll have you in a new routine in no time.”

You can see more information at www.beaumontplaygroup.ie